The Ultimate Way To Create An Indoor-Outdoor Living Experience 

By Julie Laughton

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Southern California affords us the luxury of enjoying our outdoor environment year round. Indoor-outdoor living is popular because there is nothing better than being one with nature. A well designed outdoor space increases the size of your overall living space and also provides a calming and tranquil environment to enjoy. There are many tricks to making your home feel bigger by opening it up to the exterior. Not only will your living space increase, you will have more options for the many different ways to entertain. Enjoying this kind of lifestyle while having all the wonderful comforts of your home involves careful planning. 

The first thing I do when I plan an outdoor space is to make sure the floor is the same color and or material on the inside as it is on the outside. Keeping the floors similar automatically increases the size of the room by continuing the interior floor to the exterior. 

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The type of doors used between the living spaces is crucial because it creates the transition from indoors to outdoors. The French doors shown in this project demonstrate an elegant, traditional, almost romantic style, especially when they are covered in sheer drapery. When the doors are open, they give the automatic invitation for the outdoors to come in. When working with door openings that are much larger, I prefer a sliding door that disappears into the walls on either side when opened to the outdoors. 

The other key element to an indoor-outdoor seamless transition is the ceiling. The ceiling design inside the home needs to be consistent and complementary to the theme you are creating. In this home, the theme is traditional, timeless beach cottage. The ceiling was done in a white washed paint over eight inch wide wood planks that were purposely spaced with a small gap left uncaulked to give the illusion of an old vintage wooden floor. The ceiling was raised and vaulted to the highest possible height to make the feeling indoors grand so that when you walk outdoors, the transition is barely noticeable. This home was completely transformed from its original 1950s design to a new glorious way to live at the beach by following these design steps. 

Having the ability to open up your living area will improve the enjoyment of your home and living environment many times over. Creating and implementing the proper design will make this process not only rewarding, but something you can enjoy for the life of the home. Indoor-outdoor living allows you to have an organic and sustainable lifestyle on a daily basis. www.julielaughton.com